By Piyali Syam, Google Author
Do you and your partner have trouble communicating with one another? Maybe you feel as though there’s a cavernous rift between you two—you try to say one thing, but he never seems to understand, or vice-versa. Why can’t he just understand that you want him to take out the trash? And why does he only ever seem to want to touch you, even when you’re not in the mood? It’s almost as if you’re not speaking the same language!
Many conflicts between couples grow out of a root cause of difficulties in communication. However, you can avoid conflicts simply by making the effort to communicate on the same wavelength. Gary Chapman’s 1995 book The Five Love Languages: How to Express Heartfelt Commitment to Your Mate, details what he calls the five “love languages” — ways in which individuals primarily express and perceive love in relationships.
Knowing about and becoming familiar with these different styles of communication can help you both to better understand your partner and to try to more effectively communicate with him/her in the same language.
So what are the five languages?
Words of Affirmation
People who express love through words of affirmation thrive on positive language. These types of lovers aren’t afraid to speak their own innermost thoughts and feelings, and are most validated when they hear them in kind. If you know your partner often needs or asks to hear how important he or she is to you, verbally express your love! Give your partner praise and compliments on the many aspects about him or her which you appreciate, such as cooking skills, physical appearance, ability to relate to your children, professional success, and so on.
Acts of Service
The partner who communicates love through acts of service isn’t necessarily as vocal about his or her love, but instead believes that actions speak louder than words. He or she is more likely a man or woman of few words, but will take the initiative to do those morning chores him or herself so you can catch those few extra minutes of sleep.
While these gestures may not seem grand, the thought and consideration behind them give them meaning beyond their scale. Executing simple, everyday tasks that help knock items off of your joint to-do list such as doing the dishes, taking the kids to school, or walking the dog, will mean the world to your partner.
In contrast, grand romantic gestures and gifts will earn you major brownie points with a partner whose love language is receiving gifts. These individuals have a deep appreciation for the gifts which are typically associated with romantic love, such as flowers, chocolate, or jewelry.
If your partner gives you gifts on special dates without fail but complains about your failure to reciprocate on a missed birthday or forgotten anniversary, he or she likely communicates love through the language of receiving gifts. To call these types of lovers materialistic is unfair and somewhat simplistic; these gifts need not be extravagant! Do try and make them symbolic and meaningful, though.
Be sure to keep track of important dates, such as birthdays and anniversaries, and to appropriately mark these occasions by gifting him or her with romantic tokens.
It’s easy to get caught up in the hectic demands of daily life and think yourself too busy for romance, but this person who communicates love through quality time will always make time for you. To him or her, spending quality time together, during which you can both give each other your full, undivided attention, is the ultimate gesture of love.
If your partner complains about you being too busy, make more of an effort to schedule weekly date nights, to spend at least a few minutes each day engaging in meaningful conversation, or take a couples vacation.
This love language is self-explanatory. Individuals who communicate love through physical touch experience connection and intimacy most potently through physical contact. If being physically close to you is important to your partner, make more of an effort to carve out some time each day for physical connection: hugging, kissing, sex, or even just holding hands, to show that you care.
Conflicts are inevitable in relationships, but recognizing that you and your partner may be communicating in different ways, and making a genuine effort to address these rifts by communicating on one another’s level will help you overcome conflict and deepen your connection.
It’s important to understand who your partner is. In each of the above suggestions, aim them toward that person and not towards what you would want. The most important part of communicating well is understanding who your partner is and what he or she would want – and then doing it!
Listen well to your partner so that conversations are actually a reciprocal discussion. Each listens and then responds to the other. This is part of this understanding.
If you are having trouble with any of these suggestions and feel you need help, give us a call. We’re available 7 days a week to help you.
PARC © 2014. PARC (Park Avenue Relationship Consultants) is a group of highly experienced New York relationship therapists with private offices in Manhattan, Brooklyn, Riverdale and Long Island. PARC’s trained, skilled and compassionate therapists have over 30 years of experience working with married and pre-married couples. Call us today for an immediate consultation at (917) 340-7592 or visit parkavenuerelationshiptherapy.com. We’re here to help.